The Teeling Whiskey Company are drawing on family and industry tradition in The Liberties in the creation of alternative whiskeys with more depth than mass-market options, writes Ray Ryan.
A staggering 60 million litres of Irish whiskey was consumed globally in 2012 — enough to fill 6.5 million cases.
That’s four million more cases than were consumed in 2008 and is a clear indication of the rapid growth of the whiskey market across the world.
That growth is reflected in a decision by Teeling Whiskey Company to develop the first new distillery in Dublin in over 125 years.
It will be located at Newmarket Square and will bring the Teeling family home to their ancestral roots in The Liberties.
Irish people have been distilling their own spirits for centuries, sometimes engaging in “moonshine” production in remote glens and valleys. Poitín was outlawed in 1661, driving it underground, but that did not stop the distilling of that powerful brew which continued with varying degrees of quality in parts of the countryside.
It was used as a cure for flu, a rub for greyhounds before coursing meetings and was even added to Christmas puddings.
The modern commercial distilleries that are now playing an important role in the Irish food and drinks sector sprung from that heritage and tradition.
Building on that tradition, Teeling’s mission is to challenge the norm by creating alternative Irish whiskeys with greater depth of personality and character than the current mass-market options. The company’s portfolio of brands ranges from a non- aged Irish Poitín to old hand-selected casks of single whiskey malts and all in between.
Now, the entrepreneurial Teeling family, who have been crafting Irish whiskey since 1782, when Walter Teeling had a distillery at Marrowbone Lane in The Liberties, is set to take its mission to a new level.
Due to start production later this year, the new distillery will also feature a visitor centre, scheduled to open in early 2015 and expected to attract up to 50,000 people in the first year, increasing to 100,000 annually.
Visitors will have an opportunity to see, smell and experience a full operational distillery, interact with the people who make the whiskey, hear the company’s history and learn of The Liberties’ whiskey-making heritage.
Overall, the project will involve a €10m investment by the company and create at least 30 full-time jobs. The distillery will also see 50 temporary jobs created in the construction phase.
The new distillery will guarantee future supply for the Teeling whiskey brands, which are already on sale in Ireland and in over 18 export markets.
It will allow the creation of a range of innovative and authentic Irish whiskeys based on the traditional and unique Dublin style of distillation.
The plant will have the capacity to produce 500,000 litres of whiskey on an annual basis and will consist of three traditional copper pot stills, reviving the traditional style of the old Dublin distilleries.
Jack Teeling, company founder and managing director, said the project will bring distilling back to an area of Dublin long associated with world class whiskey and which had at one stage 37 operational distilleries.
“Building a working distillery is just one part of our plan for the Newmarket Square site which will also involve the development of an integrated visitor experience to showcase the rich distilling history of Dublin and in particular The Liberties.
“Dublin whiskey was at the forefront of the last golden age of Irish whiskey. We aim to revive the Spirit of Dublin by putting Dublin and Teeling Whiskey firmly back on the map again,” he said.
Mr Teeling said there has been significant growth in the Irish whiskey market worldwide, particularly in the United States.
“The new distillery will guarantee future supply and ensure we control the distilling process from grain to bottle, whilst also giving consumers the opportunity to further interact with the brand, as we revive the old tradition of whiskey distilling in The Liberties.”
Mr Teeling said the company plans to reinvest a percentage of the whiskey distillery visitor’s entrance fees into local community projects in Dublin 8.
Jack Teeling, former managing director with Cooley Distillery, founded the company in 2012. His brother Stephen, a former senior global marketing manager for Irish whiskey in Beam, joined him last year as sales and marketing director and is a co-owner in the business.
During the 19th century Dublin whiskey became globally recognised as the premier whiskey in the world and some of the largest distilleries of the time emerged from these smaller operations in The Liberties.
The last Dublin distillery shut down in 1976 when production was moved to Midleton, Co Cork, but now Teelings aim to revive the spirit in the capital.
“We aim to be genuine and true to the generations of Irish whiskey craftsmen that went before us,” they said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved